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What Causes Low Hdl Cholesterol

Procedures To Reduce Cholesterol

How to Increase Low HDL Cholesterol

Medical procedures that lower cholesterol levels are reserved for people with very high levels of LDL cholesterol that do not respond to diet and lipid-lowering drugs. Such people include those with familial hypercholesterolemia. LDL apheresis is the most commonly done procedure. LDL apheresis is a non-surgical procedure where blood is drawn from the person and the LDL component is separated from the rest of the blood in a special machine. The blood is then returned to the person.

How Do You Know If Hdl Cholesterol Is Low

In general, blood tests can determine the levels of total circulating cholesterol. This test is called lipid profile and is useful in the assessment of HDL, LDL, VLDL and triglyceride levels.

Its recommended to perform this test every 5 years in young adults and every 1 to 2 years in men over 45 years and in women over 55 years. The results are usually expressed in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . In the case of HDL cholesterol, higher concentrations are usually more beneficial.

The desirable HDL value in men and women is 60 mg/dL or higher. On the other hand, concentrations below 40 mg/dL in men or 50 mg/dL in women constitute a risk factor.

Studies of international protocols state that HDL cholesterol levels below 40 mg/dL greatly increase the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. Furthermore, low HDL levelsare estimated to bethe most common dyslipidemia in Europe.

Add Coconut Oil To The Diet

Studies have shown that coconut oil may reduce appetite, increase metabolic rate, and help protect brain health, among other benefits.

Some people may be concerned about coconut oils effects on heart health due to its high saturated fat content. However, it appears that coconut oil is actually quite heart-healthy.

Some studies have shown that coconut oil tends to raise HDL cholesterol more than many other types of fat.

In addition, some studies have shown that coconut oil may improve the ratio of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio reduces heart disease risk .

One study examined the health effects of coconut oil consumption in 40 females with excess abdominal fat. The researchers found that those who took coconut oil daily had increased HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL-to-HDL ratio.

In contrast, the group who took soybean oil daily had a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in the LDL-to-HDL ratio .

However, more recent reviews suggest that the research into coconut oil and cholesterol is of poor quality, is not conclusive, and often reports that coconut oil can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, more research is needed .

Most studies have found that these health benefits occur at a dosage of about 2 tbsp of coconut oil per day. It is best to incorporate this into cooking rather than eating spoonfuls of coconut oil on their own.

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When Should I Get An Hdl Cholesterol Test

Whether an HDL cholesterol test is appropriate depends on your specific circumstances.

As a screening test, there are no universally agreed-upon recommendations regarding how often to measure cholesterol levels. In general, screening is started earlier for people with risk factors such as high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease at an earlier age. Ongoing cholesterol testing may occur more often in people with one or more of these risk factors.

People without an elevated risk for cardiovascular problems usually start screening at a later age and often have longer intervals between cholesterol tests.

Every individual should talk with their doctor about the most appropriate screening plan in their specific situation. An overview of common recommendations for cholesterol screening are listed in the table below:

Demographic Group
With or without risk factors Annually

Screening is frequently done with a lipid panel, especially for an initial test. However, some screening may be done with only a total cholesterol and HDL-C measurement.

Although principally used to detect cardiovascular issues, abnormalities in HDL cholesterol can occur with other health problems affecting the thyroid, pancreas, or liver. As a result, cholesterol testing may be involved in the diagnostic process for a range of medical conditions.

Acute Or Chronic Severe Inflammatory Disease

How To Increase Hdl Cholesterol

Low HDL cholesterol level has numerous causes including androgens, progestins, cigarette smoking, obesity, a low-fat diet, and drugs such as -blockers, isotretinoin, PIs, and sirolimus. Yet some may consider the most frequent cause of a low level of HDL cholesterol in hospitalized patients as an acute or chronic severe inflammatory disease with a marked acute-phase reaction. Together with albumin and transferrin, HDL cholesterol level declines and returns to reference within days after the end of the acute-phase reaction. This was confirmed in a study of high-school-aged children at boarding school with standardized activity and food service where a decline in HDL cholesterol level was seen after an acute illness when contrasted with values when the children were healthy.7477

Sotirios Tsimikas, Vincent Mooser, in, 2004

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What Causes Hdl To Drop

Cholesterol statistics show several lifestyle factors can have a big effect on your body’s levels of HDL cholesterol, according to the Cleveland Clinic, including the following:

  • Diet. Eating a diet that is low infruits and vegetables and high in trans fats, processed meats and refinedcarbohydrates like sugar all negatively affect HDL levels.
  • Exercise. A sedentary lifestyle whereyou don’t get enough exercise also has a negative effect.
  • Obesity. Having high body weight isanother factor that seems to negatively affect HDL levels.
  • Smoking. Smoking has also been shownto decrease HDL levels.
  • High blood sugar and blood pressure.Poor management of both of these cardiovascular issues can also pose problemsfor your HDL cholesterol levels.

The Mayo Clinic also notes that certain medications, such as those containing testosterone or anabolic steroids, can lower HDL levels.

Other Conditions And Medications Associated With High Hdl

High HDL is also linked to other conditions, including:

  • thyroid disorders
  • inflammatory diseases
  • alcohol consumption

Sometimes cholesterol-controlling medications can also raise HDL levels. These are usually taken to lower LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. Medication types that have been linked to increased HDL levels include:

  • bile acid sequestrants, which decrease fat absorption from the foods you eat
  • cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which lower triglycerides in the blood, but also increase HDL cholesterol
  • statins, which block the liver from creating more cholesterol

Increasing HDL levels is usually a positive side effect in people who have low HDL levels as in most cases, it decreases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

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Consider What You Eat:

It is said that we are what we eat. While not to be taken literally, it certainly has a grain of truth. The food you eat does play a role in your health and your cholesterol levels. Fruits and vegetables are natures bounty and play a significant role in keeping your body healthy and your cholesterol at an appropriate level.

When we eat foods that are high in trans fatty acids these are also known as trans fats, our HDL cholesterol is lowered, and, at the same time, your LDL levels increase. The trick is not to eat any foods that are high in trans fats. They are typically what we call junk food, such as packaged foods, those high in preservatives and added salt. Included in this list are all the naughty but nice foods like baked goods cookies, pies and cakes.

The list continues with food such as French fries, doughnuts and fried chicken. Additionally, certain oils, such as palm kernel, coconut and palm oils also contain large amounts of saturated fat. (Saturated fat generally comes from the food we get from animals such as meat.

Trans fats are typically manufactured.) Try a healthier option monounsaturated fat which is found in olive, canola and peanut oils are far better than saturated fat. Other foods that are a good choice in healthy fats are nuts and fish. .

What Causes Low Cholesterol

Vitamin D And Cholesterol (Low HDL)

You could have very low cholesterol because of:

  • A rare disorder that runs in your family
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • In pregnant women, preterm birth or low birthweight

But many questions remain about the effects of very low cholesterol. Experts say they need more research to prove that it could have these consequences.

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What Is The Hdl Hypothesis

The observation that elevated high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Historically, the first hint of the validity of this HDL hypothesis was the finding of the Helsinki Heart Study that a 10% increase in HDL cholesterol levels induced by gemfibrozil accounted for the 15% larger reduction in CAD mortality compared with the first Lipid Research Clinic Coronary Primary Prevention Trial that used cholestyramine, a bile acid sequestrant resin. Both cholestyramine and gemfibrozil reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol modestly by 10% but only gemfibrozil raises HDL cholesterol levels by as much as approximately 10%. More recent clinical trials have further supported an independent role of HDL in mediating coronary heart disease risk.

Frick MH, Elo O, Haapa K, et al: Helsinki Heart Study: Primary prevention trial with gemfibrozil in middle-aged men with dyslipidemia. Safety of treatment, changes in risk factors, and incidence of coronary heart disease, N Engl J Med 371:12371245, 1987.

More About Hdl Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol plays an important as well as a protective role in looking after your heart and blood vessels from diseases like heart attacks and strokes. The cholesterol itself is a fat. Hence, it is not the cholesterol that is protective per se, but the HDL lipoprotein as a whole.

What it does is remove excess cholesterol, or fat, from your blood vessels and other tissues. It then returns it to the liver where it is recycled or removed from your body. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. This helps to protect your artery walls against LDL, or bad cholesterol. Additionally, it has an anti-oxidant effect.

This helps it to protect your cells along with important chemicals in your blood and tissues from being broken down.

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Ways To Increase Your Hdl Cholesterol

There are some factors that lower your HDL that are outside of your control. But heres the good news: There are steps you can take to increase your HDL.

Experts recommend lifestyle changes starting with your diet as the best approach to improving your HDL. Examples include:

  • Swap fats. All fat isnt bad. In fact, you need fat for many body functions. Choose healthier fats such as omega-6, omega-3, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. These types of fats are in a wide variety of foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds, olive oil, and oily fish. The Mediterranean diet is a great example.

  • Forget or reduce sugar. The American Heart Association recommends males eat only 9 tsp of sugar per day and females eat 6 tsp per day. Most adults in the U.S. eat almost three times this amount daily. Sugar comes in many different forms, so be sure to read labels carefully when trying to eat less of it. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is especially important raising your HDL level may even improve your diabetes.

  • Move more. The AHA recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Cardiovascular exercise, or aerobic exercise, increases HDL levels. Exercise may also make HDL work better, so it can clear out more LDL.

  • Stop smoking. Your HDL improves very quickly after you quit smoking . Quitting smoking isnt easy, but it has many health benefits.

  • Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol

    Low HDL Cholesterol Causes and Lifestyle Changes to Boost HDL Levels ...

    You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?

    Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.

    So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.

    Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:

    • LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
    • Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
    • HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.

    And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.

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    Eat Fewer Added Sugars

    Its not just saturated and trans fats that can raise cholesterol levels. Eating too many added sugars can do the same thing .

    One study found that adults who consumed 25% of their calories from drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup experienced a 17% increase in LDL cholesterol in just two weeks .

    Even more troubling, fructose increases the number of small, dense oxidized LDL cholesterol particles which contribute to heart disease .

    Between 2005 and 2010, an estimated 10% of Americans consumed over 25% of their daily calories from added sugars .

    According to a 14-year study, these people were almost three times more likely to die from heart disease than those getting less than 10% of their calories from added sugars .

    The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day for women and children, and no more than 150 calories per day for men .

    You can meet these goals by reading labels carefully and choosing products without added sugars whenever possible.

    Summary Getting more than 25% of your daily calories from added sugars can raise cholesterol levels and more than double your risk of dying from heart disease. Cut back by choosing foods without added sugars as much as possible.

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    How To Get Tested

    There are several different ways that HDL cholesterol levels can be tested.

    Your doctor may prescribe a laboratory test, which requires taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm in a medical office or hospital.

    Some clinics, doctors offices, pharmacies, and events like health fairs also offer on-site cholesterol testing. Known as point-of-care testing, this test analyzes a drop of blood that comes from pricking your fingertip with a very small needle.

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    What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol

    Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.

    If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.

    Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.

    Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.

    Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.

    • Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
    • LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
    • HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
    • Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.

    Exercise And Physical Activity:

    Medical Conditions & Symptoms : Symptoms of Low HDL

    we are all aware of the many benefits of doing exercise. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Physical activity or exercise can give your HDL level a boost. On top of that, it can help you lose weight and give you more energy. Doing a physical energy doesnt mean you have to take out a gym membership. If you do at least 30 minutes of exercise per week, you are on the right track.

    There are different forms of activity that you could do and youll probably enjoy them too. Walking briskly is a great exercise. If you find the idea tiresome, ask a friend to join you. Walking with a friend means the time will likely pass quicker and youll complete your 30 minutes brisk walk before you realize it.

    You could also ride your bicycle to work. Or if that is not suitable, walk to work. If you cant walk to work, take a fast paced walk during your lunch hour.

    Try joining a Tai Chi group. Tai Chi is also called the moving meditation and is great for people of all ages. It is a gentle form of exercise with proven results.

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    The Effects Of High Cholesterol

    High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of fatty deposits on vessels that bring blood to the heart. Too-low levels of HDL cholesterol suggest the body may not be able to clear plaques and other fatty deposits from the body. Both conditions create a risk for heart disease and heart attack.

    Liver damage can progress for months or years with no symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, liver damage often is extensive. Some symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor. These include:

    • jaundice
    • fatigue


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